Episode 14

Episode Notes

This week Roksana is joined by Jenni Kiddle as they talk about our mindset towards food, being a mum, and listening to yourself. Jenni is a Nutritional Therapist and trained health coach who helps people understand and manage our relationship with food. Jenni gives her take on ideas surrounding the topic that would allow us to let the guilt go free and enjoy life.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Spending quality time and having pleasure with food

  • Listening to your body to know the food that uniquely works for you. You don’t need to feel guilt because of the diet culture!

  • How “food rules” can turn into eating disorders. Love food!

  • Why do women struggle with weight management after having children?

  • Being mindful of the inner voice and establishing a good example for your kids

  • The significance of rest and the consequences of ignoring it. Society is too obsessed with productivity!

About Jenni Kiddle:

Hello! My name is Jenni. I’m doolally about dogs, addicted to avocados and fanatical about health and fitness. I’m a registered Nutritional Therapist and trained health coach and I am dedicated to supporting you in living a wholesome life.

Let’s chat a bit about me first…

My story begins at University, where I studied Psychology. From a young age, I have believed it’s my purpose to help others and make a positive difference to people’s lives.  In my second year, I became aware that, perhaps under the stress of transitioning twenties, I wasn’t making nourishing choices. I noticed that my relationship with food wasn’t healthy, nor was my relationship with myself. Are these connected? Absolutely.

I truly believe that the only way to see light is to experience some dark. The light for me was discovering the power and importance of loving, nourishing and properly fueling your body – not only with good food and movement, but with emotional, spiritual, social and environmental health too. I am not only fascinated by the power of food, but also passionate about self-care and living a mindful, joyful and healthy life.

I trained at The Institute of Optimum Nutrition in London, one of the UK’s leading schools of science and evidence based Nutritional Therapy. I am a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy as well as being registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council government body.

This journey is still something I work on every day – good health and fulfillment it isn’t a path with an ending. My purpose, and my job as a nutritional therapist, is to help you to on your path too.

You can find Jenni Kiddle on…

Website: https://www.nettleandrosenutrition.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nettlerosenutrition/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenni-kiddle-72620654/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nettleandrosenutrition/


[Roksana] My guest on today’s show is Jenni Kiddle. Jenni is a registered Nutritional Therapist and a health coach. Now we all need a Jenni in our corner. So today I invite Jenni to share insights and actionable steps to help us understand and manage our relationship with food. Welcome to the show Jenni.

[Jenni] Oh, that was really lovely! Thank you. ‘Everyone needs a Jenni’; that’s made my life.

[Roksana] We all need- we all need a Jenni in our corner kind of rooting us on.

[Jenni] Yeah rooting, not judging, that’s for sure. I’m not gonna be watching you in the corner, just cheering gently.

[Roksana] Exactly what we need. And I know some people do judge, which is why I said, Jenni you will just sit in the back and root for us.

[Jenni] Thanks for having me, it’s lovely to actually be here.

[Roksana] Exactly. I mean isn’t it nice that we can connect like this? You’re now in Brighton, aren’t you?

[Jenni] Yeah, yeah. Moved to Brighton about a year ago now, a year ago last April, and it’s a wonderful. It- we’re kinda residing in temporary accommodation for lockdown and really missing the seaside. I’m not currently Brighton like as we speak, but will be going back very soon, as soon as all this goes back to normal… and I’m having to start to take my Instagram off is because I can’t bear seeing my friends at the beach, like sitting down having a nice lunch, like I miss it so much!

[Roksana] How dare they(?)

[Jenni] I know, so selfish(!) But yeah, moved to Brighton about a year ago from St. Albans and it’s won- it’s a wonderful, wonderful, magical place.

[Roksana] Aw, I’m so happy for you. Jenni, I’d love to know a bit about your back story. So how did you get into becoming a nutritionist? Tell us about that?

[Jenni] Sure. I’ve always been quite fascinated with the mind actually, how the mind works, how we work as people, how we interact, how we feel driven/motivated, our emotions… that fascinated me from young age and I’ve always been a very analytical people person, and I’ve always been really driven to help me with that friend that listens and that people turn to for advice, so that was always going to be my role in my life and in my career, I knew that. And I think it’s cool when you’re however old you choose your uni degree like 16 or something crazy, I just knew that I loved psychology as a subject so much, and I knew how useful it will be for me to help others but will also transition into other areas of business so studying psychology at University, went to Bournemouth. And I think it was there that in the kind of scary strange times that your 20s are, we are finding ourselves or meeting people it’s all a bit of a weird time and my relationship with food when it showed up- it wasn’t obvious at the time, but now I look back I realised how much it could manifested during University. Where everyone else was you know going home with a kebab after lots of drinking and you know waking up and having a fry up, I was very controlled. I didn’t really ever could touch a cheesy chip throughout uni life which is unheard of, and I thought I was you know completely in control and as I got into a difficult relationship with stuff at University, that kind of bred the difficult relationship with food even more it could have fed it, no pun intended. And I got really restrictive. I was trying every diet, I was tracking calories, I was over exercising. I would you know go to my room and binge eat and then restrict for days; it was horrible. But never ever would have thought I have got a problem or you know this is an issue, it was just- it was my normal. I suppose it might have been growing up in a family with a lot of women who spent their lives dieting and just being a- I suppose quite a complex person in terms of my over thinking at the time. Anyway so I went travelling after university for a few months and it was during and after that that it got quite bad. I lost a lot of weight and people in my life were starting to notice that I wasn’t being myself or looking myself, but actually funnily enough I had a lot of compliments. It’s crazy how people see you differently when you shrink. People were more- they wanted to be around me more, it was like I’d kind of this power you know the more I lost and that just fuels the fire. It was almost like an overnight thing. People say that and you’re like yeah right, it’s never an overnight thing, but it really was overnight I suddenly went, okay this isn’t right, what’s going on here? It was a complete wake up. A friend approached me and said we think, you know, are you okay? You know, we think that this is an issue and I was like don’t be silly, what the hell, this is crazy, no I just eat really healthily and I love healthy food. You know a day out to me was like going to Whole Foods. I think I actually spent on my birthdays, I asked my mum if we could go to Whole Foods, like it was a bit obsessive, you know the wellness culture kind of took over me. And I, yeah, I woke up and I just thought what on Earth is going on? What is this- what is this strange relationship I’ve got with food, with my body? And I just realised it’s a problem. Long story short, it took about seven years, seven-eight years, of a lot of personal work, self-discovery, self-awareness, research, learning… and I went on to study Nutritional Therapy at the Institute for Optimal Nutrition after travelling… because I kind of married my fascination with psychology to my kind of love and obsession of healthy food and I came to a dark place, but it got better. The science of all those next together you know the science of food and the impact it has on the body and my mission to help people live better lives and so yeah. Went to study Nutritional Therapy, not really knowing whether it’d be for me but still in the time I was studying I was working on myself and my relationship with food, and it is work, it really is work. So I mean you know I went on retreats, podcasts, books… it was painful to you know kind of radically look yourself in the mirror and say you know, get honest with yourself and say that I need help. I need to do something about this, this is normal and everything that drove that strange dysfunctional relationship with food was really showing up in my life like ah that’s why that’s why this is we need to do to overcome that and then i suppose I’m at the point now you know total peace and it’s wonderful, it’s magic, life is so much clearer, brighter when you shed that misery of guilt, shame, restriction, rules… and now I love the sciencey stuff, the nutrition, looking at how food nourishes and repairs and supports our body and changes our whole you know bio-chemical structure and physiology… but also the psychology stuff is the stuff that I love. You know I’m a big advocate of the coaching aspect of it. I love working with people and now because of my personal experience I very much attract and women who also have a difficult relationship with food and let me tell you it’s a lot. They don’t realise what’s going on until we do the work, and yeah it’s a really beautiful thing to see and be part of so yeah and that’s where I am now. I’m practising and it’s the best job in the world.

[Roksana] And you’re changing lives as we speak and it’s amazing. I think I think that way that you’ve approached turning your kind of mess, if you like, or this phase of life that you went through, something triggered you and you began a dysfunctional relationship if you like with food. Then, as you came through it, you found the root causes for your dysfunctional relationship and you use that learning to now support other women and I think that’s that’s the best way to serve people because then you know where they’re coming from… you know a bit more about might be going on psychologically because Jenni, I get lots of clients come to me and they have- they are super smart women and they know the content of every single thing that goes into their mouth. They know the nutritional value; they know their fats, the carbs, sugars, and they have this will and desire to have a good healthy relationship with food, but there’s something stopping them and it’s really interesting cause what they- when they talk about food it’s like this complex relationship that you might have with a sibling. Where sometimes you love it, sometimes you’re furious at it, sometimes you= you never forget to eat you know when you’re kind of obsessed with food, you kind of never forget but then sometimes you don’t do it on purpose and kind of resist it and you create this kind of sacrifice if you like with it… and sometimes you devour it and overindulge and it’s like this kind of almost like I was thinking like a sibling that you have a love-hate relationship with, like you just go through this kind of really complex feelings, and they can change from morning to night… you know you’re feeling really on top of it and you love it and it’s great and you feel like you’re in balance, and then something will happen or maybe even not you know, some shift will happen in your in your mind and body and then you go from being furious at it that you have made decisions so do I eat or don’t I eat, how much should I- not just eating, is it, it’s drinking as well. And I get that- that’s why I hear a lot of… and I’d love to use some of your expertise really to dig into what’s going on there?

[Jenni] It is complicated I love how you relate it to like a relationship and it’s actually something I use. I say if you were to give me all the qualities that you need in relationship with a loved one, like it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, and tell me what you need for that relationship to be healthy to really thrive and they say things like, trust, communication, quality time, being with that person and not on your phones together, you know quality time, pleasure, you need pleasure in relationships, and you need fun… and I get them to write it down I say OK now, if that relation- if that person was your relationship with food, what’s missing? So like you spending quality time with food and then like what do you mean? Well, cooking, experimenting with smelling your food, playing with food, you know you’re getting into that to creativity and the fun which are birth right. Food is there to give us pleasure and I think that’s one of the big things and I will go into so many more but I mean it does obviously affect men as well but women I think… denial of pleasure I think for a lot of women perhaps growing up in a lot patriarchal systems… women as well, as mothers, as workers as you know Housewives whatever it is, a lot of women feel a lot of shame and guilt an around pleasure… and I ask a lot of questions, like what do you do for fun? They’re like are you joking? I’m like what do you do to relax? Oh, watch TV, that’s it, like sitting on my phone. Okay, what do you do that’s pleasurable, and they find that a very comfortable question because there’s a real shutting down its built around that that’s associated with pleasure and if we don’t seek pleasure in food or in life, we will feel unfulfilled and satisfied and then that comes the sitting in the corner of the kitchen scoffing the biscuits like to fill up because we will feel unfulfilled and we want to fill up on something quickly and like instantly because that’s what the body needs. Is not just nice, not just nice to have fun and nice to have pleasure, it’s the body’s needs for the vibrancy and good health and happiness. So yeah denial of pleasure from food is a big one, but a lot of that just all of everything I’m gonna say all pretty much goes back to the diet culture mindset. So yeah diet culture I think is the root cause of most people’s difficult relationship with food. The one that you described, you know that up and down rollercoaster, the good, the bad, one day nothing yet, next day hating it. Diet culture’s basically anything that equates health and beauty to slenderness and link food and eating to morality. So it’s a system that’s all about, you know you are what you eat, you need to earn your food, or that you are good some days when you eat certain types of foods, and you’re bad when you eat others. Diet culture is very sneaky as well, it’s why a lot of women don’t come to me and go hello I’m- I’ve been through diet culture and I am now been struggling with my relationship with food. It never presents itself like that, it usually presents itself under the guise of health.

[Roksana] And this is what I was thinking, coz there were so many food movements in the last sort of five to ten years, there’s been this explosion hasn’t there, of gluten free, dairy free, this free, that free, and low carb, keto, and all the rest of them and I find it baffling. I have no idea what kind of system would be the right system for me, and so what happens is I get overwhelmed. Being kind of-  food being good or food being bad, like this kind of ethical  dilemma that we all have to figure out to navigate food. So there we have messages like, if you eat your super foods, you’ll reduce your chances of getting cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and I don’t know- I mean I don’t know what your thoughts are as the professional around this, but I think yes food and drink plays a role in reducing your chances of cancer and cardiovascular, but there’s so many other factors like diet and exercise and mental health and genetics and everything else that comes into play and it’s only through years and years of trying to navigate all of this information myself I’ve come to learn that everything in moderation obviously, but there aren’t you know- there’s no one way that is going to meet everybody’s needs, but there is this pressure to eat certain types of food because you know, you don’t want to entice or create a situation where you’re kind of encouraging all these major diseases to come and live in your body.

[Jenni] Yeah but it’s actually- unless there’s something specific in terms of somebody’s health that’s going on, where if I had somebody come to me and say they’ve got a specific health condition, whether it’s something to do with the digestive system, hormones, skin, whatever it is, then we have to- my job’s like being a detective. I have to really try and get to the root cause and go from there so that involves an investigation sometimes I do testing, food tolerance testing and right really figuring out what’s the best for that unique individual. But if we’re going to the broader aspect of things and the kind of rules in the diets and the different messages that we all here all day that change every week, every month, that’s what causes this overwhelm and confusion in these rules and it’s that noise… it’s the noise of all of these messages, the rules, the dieting, the food labelling, it’s the noise of our busy lives, our stressful lives… we don’t stop and pause and listen which shuts off our basic primal connection with our body. We don’t tune in. Your body knows what’s right for you. You know, disease comes from- basically it’s born from not listening to what’s going on, ignoring its natural signals which will say I need this, I don’t need that, I don’t need this, I need that, and a lot of that again comes from diet culture. Because it’s about demonization, scaremongering around food… that’s at the centre and that it presents itself and in the outside world in so many ways so you mentioned like food labelling. No, I can’t bear seeing food say things like “guilt free” or you know or “finally you can enjoy this chocolate because it’s free of whatever” or hearing- if I hear like somebody teaching gym class and they say oh, you can go in on your breakfast now, or it a lot of people will come with this guilt. Guilt is a heavy, heavy emotion and energy to carry around with you, especially when it’s to do with food because eating is your birthright. It’s essential for life, and so when you’re carrying guilt around food, that’s going to manifest physically in the body as probably as an illness because your body picks up in those signals, it picks up on the anxieties, and feelings of shame, doing wrong as being shameful and that comes from diet culture and it is dangerous in terms of it’s harmful in terms of promoting disordered eating. It is a waste of energy is a waste of time and all that energy that I’d see you know clients people into counting calories and worrying about their weight and worrying about that you know the rules and this and that… and I think about if you put that energy into these love. Like do you like dancing? Do you you love gardening? And put that energy there. And you said a minute ago you were like, I don’t know why like why- why these strange diets and rules and keto this and that: it’s a $60 billion industry with an 80% failure rate, so that’s why. It makes money. But you know it’s stigmatises marginalised bodies, it makes negative emotions like fear, shame, anxiety implicit in eating when eating is something we need to do to stay alive. So it’s most difficult issues with food and women’s bodies which are both very connected by the way, and diet culture mindset and it’s ingrained, it’s conditions, so that’s very difficult-it’s difficult to change, takes time to change, it takes work. Like- you’re an expert in that, changing our mindsets, it takes work and time and it’s the same so that’s a lot of what I do is about that.

[Roksana] Our relationship with food probably starts earlier than we might think, so we might have triggers in our teenage years or beyond that in our 20s or 30s when we hit some kind of stress in our life and then our relationship with food becomes really apparent that we’ve got this as a stress reliever in some way shape or form that we are using alcohol, or we’re using food to manage ourselves. What are your thoughts on- what would be your sort of guidance to our mum listers who are liistening right now, who have daughters and to help them to have a healthy relationship to help their daughters to have a healthy relationship, and sons for that matter cause obviously this affects everybody in the family- what would be your suggestion? Where should they start? They might have realised that actually they are a little bit… bordering on having a dysfunctional relationship with food, what should- what can they do?

[Jenni] Good question. Loads of things. Just remember that you’re a mirror and your children are always watching and acting out what you do… so like I said, I grew up in a family of women who dieted and I just picked up on it and I thought this is what we’re supposed to do, this is what’s right. Love your body as best you can, love food as best you can, try to avoid food rules as much as possible even if it’s you know is something like I hear, you can’t eat your- you can’t have that until you have that, you can’t have your ice cream until you have your broccoli- I know how tempting it is because you’re desperate for them to eat well, but just be patient, you know. Be an example and just trust the process that that little human knows what’s right or wrong. And I was so fussy when I was younger, I was the fussiest eater and now I’m a Nutritionist. So if you have a fussy child, they’re not gonna grow up you know really ill and you know poorly, it will just transition hopefully but you’ve got to be an example so try and avoid food rules as much as you can. Again I know it’s tempting but when you’re born and you grow up with these rules around food it can manifest into an eating disorder even if you think it’s the right thing to do. So show them how much you love food, you know cook together and make food exciting, colourful and pleasurable. And yeah, try not to be too rigid, just kids know. Kids are the best example for us to watch as well, they’re great… when I work a lot on mindful eating and when clients don’t know what mindful eating is, I say watch a child eating ice cream. They are not thinking of the calories, they’re not thinking about what they need to do in an hour, they’re not thinking about what they did a minute ago, they are just so present with the ice cream they can’t even feel it around their face, you know when you see a child it’s all over their face and you’re like how does it not realise? Because there’s so in the joy of the ice cream, and then they realise. So yeah you’re both lovely examples to each other, you know see the joy that children get from food and try and have that same joy. Don’t diet, avoid too many rules around food, just remember go back to the basics food essential for life we just find it’s enjoyable and try not to try not to soothe children with food… so have other coping mechanisms for emotions because that is a lot of the root cause actually of you know, you said that difficult relationships can show up in our 30s or 40s, whenever and you know you go right back to when you fell over in the playground or you fell over with your mum and you started crying and it was like oh here’s a biscuit, have an ice cream, here’s a sweet… it’s so tempting but that brain is wiring to condition – ah, negative emotion, sugary food. And that can be conditioned throughout our lives… so yeah just love your body, love food, and your children will do the same.

[Roksana] Absolutely. And there’s so much research around social learning and how our children are constantly not just picking up on our actions but also our energy… so if we’re struggling with food in the sense that we’re kind of sat at table and we’re not not wanting to eat because we feel we shouldn’t for whatever reason, or we overeat, you know the kind of having more than our portion size. whatever that should be for us, all of that is being felt by our children… and yeah they then are thinking that this is what normal looks like, and I think mum has probably a bigger role to play in the home in terms of the relationship with their children and food. Because I know with my kids you know when I walk into a room, Jenni you’re gonna laugh at this, but it is that they will have had a meal they’ll be sat in the lounge watching telly or playing, and as soon as I walked into the lounge: “I’m hungry”. Because they associate me with food still, and they’re not babies anymore, they’re primary school aged children and I know for a fact that whatever I’m eating, they want a bit. They always want a bit. So I know that the same time then they’re watching my relationship with food, watching how I’m handling my food and how I’m talking about it in cooking and so yeah, I guess I just want our mum listeners to kind of be aware of the fact that your children are going to model what you do and embed that into their minds as that’s the behaviour that is the right behaviour, whatever it might be… and how do we step back a little bit modify that, what you’re saying is be mindful in the moment. Notice what you’re doing, notice what your children are doing, and how they enjoy their food.

[Jenni] Yeah it’s so interesting what you said about the energy. I’ve worked with a mum before who struggled so much with her kids’ fussy eating and we did a lot of work on you know what they were eating, of course, all the different you know right balances of different foods, to avoid that kind of constant hunger you get the right protein, right sugars etc. and then I think it was just one session we just both clicked and I said OK, when you’re- do you eat with them? No no, can’t eat with them we eat at different times. Okay so when they’re eating, what are you doing? I’m washing up, I’m sorting the house out, I’m doing the chores, you know. Ah okay, so when the kids are eating they’re watching mum and mum is stressed out, mum is running around, she’s rushing, she’s stressed out, she’s busy and I get it. You’ve got things to do, you want to get out of the way, get the housework done so you can relax, but the kids are seeing stressed out mum and they’re eating and the brain is associating those two things. Rushing around, stressed out, ooh, all over the place and food, rather than that can you just take 10 minutes and just sit with them while they eat? And that is so powerful you know, just like that and it made a huge difference. Made a huge difference.

[Roksana] I was gonna ask, what was the outcome of that?

[Jenni] Yes, amazing. They ate much slower cause a lot of- so that was a big problem, they were eating so quickly and it was like food was done, jumped off their chair, then back to their games, what they were doing. We were trying to figure out why they eat so quick and if they’re seeing mum being quick in the kitchen, like rushing around, they’re going to pick up on that you know. Even if you were to eat something and watch someone do something quickly, you kinda wanna rush because it’s like it feels like the right thing to do. Yeah, I said can you slow down, can you sit and be mindful and just relax for 10 minutes? The washing up can wait, but if the kids are going to grow up with this difficult relationship and they’re going to have weight issues, it’s worth it to just sit and just slow down like you’re both gonna benefit and yeah it was so easy but so wonderful. It is always those simple things that are most effective.

[Roksana] That is so interesting. I was just, as you were talking, just thinking actually I do that sometimes as well. So I need to sit with my kids more often and eat with them. Although, they don’t rush, they take years to eat. It’s why I give up and just go off and do things. I’m interest, Jenni, why is it that a lot of women, after they have children, really struggle to have some kind of weight management in their lives again? And I know this is affected me massively over the years. I have-  I look back at when I had my son who six years old now, and I was a really small size, and then a few years later I gained weight, and then about year later I dropped weight and then I gained weight again… and I find myself even though I’m a coach right I know what’s going on psychologically, I still struggle. I think there’s so many factors at play, so for a long time, time was a big factor. When the children were little because they had so many things going on that we need to be there for them, which leaves very little time for me to do what I want to do. Stress is a big factor because I think as much as you can be a mother and love being around your children there’s this kind of low level stress constantly to make sure that, you know things are happening when they need to be happening because the ramification of them not getting fed and watered when they need to is huge righ? ‘Cause that is their basic need… and then this kind of new identity, kind of figuring out who you are now as a mum. I think for me that was quite a big thing that was going on and again kinda probably contributing to this low level stress of, I don’t know who to be anymore. Am I a mum? What parts of me still exist? Because I have no time to explore those… and I’m just wondering how much of that you see in your practise and if you can kind of share any insights into other people that might be going through something right now that’s similar.

[Jenni] Yeah so I think it was Eckhart Tolle who was talking about the identity of mums. It does- you can step into this role as if it’s that you now like you like I am a mum and yeah of course you are a mother to children but that is not you. You are not a mum and when we attach to this identity, psychologically that’s what you become. So I’m a mummy, I look after these children, that is my life role… and it becomes very difficult when you do have those little pockets of time to fill those up with things that you love because you forgot what it is because you are a mum now, and that can be quite tricky when you when you identify yourself as a mum or your job, you know forget at the moment children, if someone’s got a job and that’s their identity, that can lead to suffering because those things change you know kids grow up. They grow up, they get older and it’s like who am I now? And I don’t work with many new mums, I work with lot of older women whose kids are older and they’re sort of going through that transitioning stage in their life. Who on earth am I? What do I like? What’s fun? Because they were- they became a mum, but then they became a mum and that was it. And so I think identity have been quite a big one. You know knowing that your role as a mother is beautiful and it’s fantastic and it’s magical, but also to tune into who you are and what you love and really and it’s always about just coming back to you. Like you know in meditation it’s, you know, always coming back to the breath? Just keep coming back to who you are and you have to just keep reminding yourself you know when the kids are in bed and you’re not with them but even when you were with them, you know what do you like to do? What fills you up? What gives you pleasure? What gives you joy? And then it’s the time thing as well, I think it’s really interesting because of course you’re so tight for it when you’re a mum, especially in those early stages… but I like to talk about time like money… and it’s like a currency so you’ve got much less of it for yourself when you are raising children, and so if you only have if you only had a little bit of money then you need very careful where you spend it right? If you want the best things for you, then you need to be careful where you spend it, and if you want more money, you can’t just find it. You can’t look in the you know in the back of the sofa, you have to make it, you have to go out and do something to make it and it’s the same with time… so it’s looking- you know doing like an overhaul of your life, your days left with the kids, without kids. and seeing you know where am I spending my currency, my time? Where can I make more? Can I ask for help? Can I delegate? Can I breakdown thinga? Can I manage time better so that I allow myself an hour a week? Whatever it is, no matter how much it us, you’ve got to make it for you and sometimes that requires scheduling so with my clients we do self-care schedule… I encourage them to write a list of things that they that that fills them up, that makes them feel alive, makes them feel free… that has nothing to do with being a mum or being a nurse or whatever it is you do that’s just like totally you. Sparks life in you… so it might be things like love reading my favourite book in a bath with oils, I love dancing, I used to sing, I used to be in the choir, I love singing and I don’t do that anymore, I used to play guitar, used to paint – okay, write everything down, go back to your childhood if you can’t think of anything, and make schedule an hour a week for that thing or schedule 5 minutes a day for whatever you can possibly do that’s not going to stress you out. Make time for it. It’s very tempting to fill that time with getting chores done, washing up, whatever you need to do, but that is just going to create even more stress and anxiety and there’s ways that you can still get those things done but also makes time for you because when we don’t do that or we don’t make time for ourselves, those little pockets of time, we are pouring from an empty Cup and you’re going to burnout. And kids pick up on it. Kids pick up on stress; like you said it’s an energy… it becomes very difficult to be of service and then no one is benefiting. The way it started is I’m trying to be the best mum- you’re actually doing an injustice to you. You’re trying to help because you are not feeling good about you, you’re not- you’re stressed out, you’re not sleeping, not looking out for yourself, you’re not eating healthy foods… so just go back to the really simple things like just go out in nature for five minutes a day. Step outside, get the grass on your feet, add take a deep breath and go back in and carry on and wow you know, what a difference that makes to your day. So, yeah I think that’s the kind of practical side of things you know identity and time for sure are tricky.  Managing it, navigating it. On a biochemical level, you talked about things like weight, energy levels- a lot changes when you have children in your body. Hormones go all over the place and that can be quite long-lasting, so again if you’re not nourishing your body, and I’m not just talking about the food you’re eating, I’m talking about how you’re eating, what you’re thinking about your environment, how much sunshine you get, how many things you do that you love, the amount of times you’ve done with loved ones, you know all of those things… self-care, exercise, movement. When you nourish those things and are mindful of those things your hormones will balance out much quicker and then everything else without going to place in terms of balance because stress hormones, like you said it’s like a constant buzzing in the background, the stress buzz, and then that becomes a new normal and you forget what it’s like to not feel like that… but it is incredible what just things like a deep breath can do to those stress hormones and when those stress hormones balance out, what incredible effects that has on with your digestive system and when your digestive system’s working better, what a difference that has on your weight and your skin and your PMS and it all just synergistically comes into place with a beautiful, magic balance and that’s not perfect for anyone. Nobody gets that balance perfect, but it’s doing what you can, it’s realistic for you and to avoid you feeling all over the place because then no one is getting anything out of it. So yeah.

[Roksana] Absolutely. I think that that was the turning point for me actually because when I started- I kind of went from oh I’m snowed with all these chores and these kids constantly… and for me it was kind of like I need a weekend away or I need hours and hours to myself to recuperate… but it was actually when I started doing myself just the 15 minutes, and then I built that up so from being around them 24/7 to then taking yourself out that equation for a whole weekend is a huge ask for everybody involved. Actually just saying can I just go for a walk on my own for 15 minutes, or can I just be alone in my bedroom for 15 minutes so I can meditate or breathe or read a book, or whatever I need to do… and it was through that kind of creating this new normal for everybody to say yes, that’s what mummy does everyday, she just does her own thing for 15 minutes. And then I could kind of say actually could I have 30 minutes, or I am going to have 30 minutes actually, I don’t need permission I’m just- that’s what I need, and it grew from there to the point now- so mine are six and nine and I have out of a whole 12 hour day bearing in mine we’re in COVID19 and we’re home everyday, I have at least 4 hours a day that’s just my time.

[Jenni] Lovely, yeah.

[Roksana] That’s built up overtime and I think the other thing- you make the point you made about Eckhart Tolle who I love, was the identity thing. So when we identify as one thing, it really limits our capacity to be all of who we are, because there are so many aspects to us, with so many aspects that make us a whole person, and if we’re just a daughter or just a wife or just a mother, it limits our ability to- or just understanding of who we are and first and foremost we’re just us, aren’t we? We’re just- we’re me.

[Jenni] And then you narrate that story, don’t you- and when you’ve made that decision, it’s not decision you make consciously. I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a wife. That’s the story that you play out in your life and then you resent, because we’re like this isn’t our story, who gave me this? And then that resentful energy’s really heavy and it’s so subtle, it can come off in passive aggressive communication because it feels like you’ve been forced into this role but it’s just a society thing, it’s a mindset thing, and yet it limits you and then you forget what sparks joy because you’ve lost yourself over the kind of years of narrating the story of “I am a ___”.

[Roksana] It doesn’t help that, like social comparisons as well… if our friends are much more maternal than us, or aren’t creating time for themselves but you are, and this has been my experience, where I will openly say that actually I have 3-4 hours to myself everyday and they just can’t believe that I will do that. Some friends are like can’t get their minds around that… there were times where I was like is this too much time for me? And obviously some of it is around the time the children are sleeping anyway or having their TV time, so I’m having my reading time, or whatever it might be but it’s interesting how we make those social comparisons constantly as well and then that brings us back down to thinking oh maybe I’m not doing right thing then the guilt creeps back in again.

[Jenni] Yeah, yeah, it’s just allowing permission isn’t it? And that’s a constant work. It’s constant inner- inner chatter… if you start to be mindful of that voice, I shouldn’t do this, I should be out with my children, this is bad, I should feel guilty… then listen to that voice and try to find out where it’s coming from and try to nurture it, you know. I hear you, is this going to help your kids if you step away for 15 minutes? Like who’s going to benefit? Everyone; we’re all gonna benefit. OK then, let’s do it, it feels good and it’s a really respectful thing as well to grow up when mum is you know setting boundaries where mum says hey, it’s my time, it’s me time, like I’ll see you in half an hour and then she comes out, happier, more vibrant, less stressed out, and the kids are learning that boundaries are good right? Like we should all be able to step away when we’re not feeling good for our mental health and say hey you know, I need time now and that’s really important and again it goes back to that thing where you know… I get mums thinking oh how can we have time to yourself, but if you’re just – if you’re not doing that, and you’re stressing yourself out more and more, your bodies getting more and more healthy – again, that’s modelling to the kids but that’s how- that’s normal. And so it’s a really wonderful thing but it certainly takes practise, doesn’t it, to keep in mind yourself, this is good for me, this is good for everyone, and then once you realise that and you see the benefits you know, of allowing yourself permission, that gives you the motivation and everybody sees it and it gives you the ability to then go, OK I know now in an hour or two hours, so yeah it’s lovely that you do that.

[Roksana] I’m a big advocate of rest as well… we feel like rest is something that we have to earn and we have to enjoy the end of a really hard, productive day whereas I – I don’t know about you, Jenni – but I make sure that I have rest after most things. If I’ve done a couple of hours work, and you know our work is quite intense when working with other people, it’s quite intense so I always make sure that I have you know really substantial rest throughout my day so I can keep going longer rather than crashing and burning at sort of seven o’clock at night.

[Jenni] Absolutely it’s- again, it goes back to that permission thing isn’t it? If we don’t choose the time to rest, our bodies will choose it for us, and it’s always at the most inconvenient times and you’ve got a big meeting coming up, you’re going on holiday, your kids are being extra demanding, and you know your body’s now like hey, I now have the flu, or whatever it is yeah. It will choose it for you if you don’t schedule in time to rest and yeah these days it could. Busy lifestyles do sometimes require scheduling. I sometimes put in my diary, “have a bath,” “read a book,” because otherwise because I love my work so much I’m sure you can relate to this, I just push through and again when you do spend some time resting, when you choose to and see the benefits, you’re more productive for happier and everyone else around you is benefiting… it’s like oh okay, and it makes you wanna do it more. So yeah rest is essential and it’s something that pretty much every client I see it doesn’t do enough and they don’t know how to. They have no idea how to rest and relax, it’s really interesting.

[Roksana] Yeah and again it is modelling behaviours that you’ve seen. So my mum never rested, she was constantly working on this kind of hamster wheel of just pottering around all the time… and so when I had my children I just kind of defaulted to those kind of behaviours and then it was only in the last few years I kind of was forced to rest, I had a few health issues, and I really enjoyed it. I was like this suits me, and now I’m like, I make sure that rest isn’t something that I look forward to just at the end of the day. I do it three times a day, even if it’s 15 minutes or 20 minutes here and there, or an extended toilet break. I make sure to get it in because it’s essential to recharge your batteries and do something different for a bit from what you were doing before. And it’s good for the kids to see that as well, that downtime isn’t something that we just do at the end of the day or that we have to earn it and then we should feel guilty for having rest time. Our society’s just obsessed with being productive and outputs, I just think that’s just where the stress is coming from.

[Jenni] Yeah, exactly. Our bodies don’t have the capacity to just keep going, you know how many times a day do you charge your phone? We’re the same; we don’t have the capacity to keep going and we think we do, we’ll ignore the odd little symptom & sign here that our bodies struggling, you know that feels off, I’m getting headaches, I’m more tired or my PMS is bad this month, I’m getting more cravings… all of these things your body knows, and it’s telling you to slow down and it’s so easy to just keep pushing through it because the body is clever and it will adapt,  then eventually and that’s when I get my clients walking through my door and say “I can’t do it anymore. My body just can’t keep up with me; what do I do? How do I- give me a pill.” I’m like no, just rest, slow down.

[Roksana] Absolutely. Oh Jenni, I could talk to you all day, aand you have given us so much food for thought, pardon the pun. Some good points there especially from the perspective of our relationship with food and how it starts, and how it kind of can manifest itself and the kind of triggers that can bring and the mismanagement if you like of it but then you know how to bring it back… having that – building in some mindful time some meaning present and enjoying and letting guilt go away, you know not be part of how you think- that actually to embrace food and drink and to know that it’s there to fuel you. It’s kind of re-calibrating that relationship isn’t it?

[Jenni] Yeah absolutely.

[Roksana] Thank you Jenni, it’s been amazing.

[Jenni] You’re welcome, it’s been my pleasure. I really enjoyed it.